The Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh at the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Welcome to “Art, Culture & Books” with me Anthony King. Today I’ll be taking you on a video and photographic tour of The Moulin de la Galette by Vincent van Gogh. It was painted in 1886 in Paris, France. It’s currently at the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

Vincent van Gogh created multiple paintings in 1886 titled “Le Moulin de la Galette,” featuring a windmill near his residence in Montmartre, Paris. This windmill, known for both milling and its scenic terrace, was owned by the Debray family during the 19th century. They produced a popular brown bread called galette, giving the windmill and its associated establishments their name. The site, including a renowned guinguette and restaurant, provided entertainment for 19th-century Parisians seeking fun, wine, and windmill-ground bread.

Constructed in 1622 and also known as Blute-fin, the windmill played a significant role in the social life of Parisians. Renowned artists like Renoir, van Gogh, and Pissarro captured its essence in their works. Renoir’s “Bal du moulin de la Galette” stands out as a notable portrayal. The name Blute-fin originates from the French verb “bluter,” signifying the sifting of flour.

Van Gogh’s series on Montmartre, including “Le Moulin de la Galette,” reflects his initial year in Paris, portraying the butte and its windmills. The paintings exhibit a range of emotions – from somber and lonely tones that echo his anxieties to bright and enthusiastic depictions of nature.

Three paintings in the series share similar compositions, illustrating van Gogh’s exploration of rural Montmartre. The colour palette varies, conveying the artist’s diverse emotional states. Additionally, a distinct shift in style.

By Anthony King (c)